Study: Righties Watch Fox
I suppose I could have subtitled this, "and kids like candy," so obvious is the finding. But actually, this study, by the WaPo and the Stanford Political Communication Lab, has some important information. Here's what the researchers did:
Using the MSNBC daily news feed (which includes news reports from a variety of sources), we randomly assigned news stories (for purposes of the study) to one of four sources -- Fox, NPR, CNN, or BBC. Participants were provided a brief headline accompanied by the logo of the news organization and asked to indicate which of the four reports displayed on the screen they would like to read. (They could also click a "can't say" box.)The results found that Republicans strongly favored Fox--big surprise. But what it found with Independents and Dems is that they had no preference except an aversion to Fox. Put another way, the findings confirm Fox bias. How else could you read it? Fox, as a Bushie echo chamber, is exactly the environment Republicans seek (they don't want to be challenged by conflicting views) while Dems and Independents apparently have little interest in administration propaganda.
And it is administration propaganda. A second finding was the study's most interesting:
[B]eliefs about the media's treatment of President Bush is a very powerful determinant of the overall preference for Fox news reports. Fox loyalists come disproportionately from those who think the media are too tough on President Bush. On the other side, people who feel that the media should provide more critical coverage of the administration are much more likely to select NPR and CNN over FOX.It's time for Fox and its watchers to quit arguing this is an objective news source--these findings demonstrate that no one is buying the "fair and balanced" line. On the other hand, NPR and CNN might find some solace in knowing that, among those disinterested in propaganda, they were perceived fairly neutrally.